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Unnecessary Farce (Review)

Covedale offers a batty, delightful walk through covert ops

By Harper Lee · November 2nd, 2010 · Onstage

Although I’ve not encountered any other kind, Unnecessary Farce by Paul Slade Smith is, well, an unnecessary farce. No one needs to see a crop of oddballs sprinting about a stage (frequently sans pants) opening one door, slamming another, lobbing double-entendres out to the house before the curtain finally extinguishes the frenzy.

The Covedale Center for the Performing Arts’ Unnecessary Farce is the perfect chaser for Evita, the company's brooding season opener. A batty, delightful walk on the weirdest side of police covert ops, Farce follows a frequently half-naked accountant, her frequently half-naked cop boyfriend, his donut-loving sidekick, an unflappable mayor and a much put-upon member of his security detail as they take down the frrrrrrightening Scottish mob run by Big Mac and a bag-piping assassin.

Got all that?

Farce is funniest when the actors play their roles straight, resisting the urge to make the joke and allowing themselves to be the butt of it instead.

Should an actor begin playing for laughs rather than playing his or her role as an accountant or cop or blood-thirsty bagpiper, the comedy suffers. One cop carries a water gun in her holster, but laughter isn't her motivation. Rather, the police academy flunk-out has a fear of firearms and opts for an H2O alternative.

Funny that such high-fructose comedy requires such sophisticated acting chops. Fortunately, the Covedale cast has the chops and delivers the goods. The play is light, lively and laugh-out-loud worthy. A true scene-stealer, Eileen Ernest as the donut-loving cop reduces the house to fits while hopping silently through much of the second act after having been bound and gagged by the assassin.

Think: CSI meets Brigadoon meets Lend Me a Tenor. Think: Funny.

UNNECESSARY FARCE, presented by Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, continues through Nov. 14. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.



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